Google Battles Deforestation, working with Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Carlos Souza of Imazon,  has created a mapping software that tracks and monitors deforestation. Using satellite image data from past and future models, it maps the tree cover and show changes over time; beyond viewing data (as you can in google earth) it analyzes the raw data to extract meaning and application for it.  This  new technology is not only helpful to those battling deforestation, but has implication for the future:  through cloud computing, raw data from around the world could be gathered and used for other areas of environmental analysis and protection. Read more at blog.

Mapping the Future of Solar/Renewable Energy

The BLM  (Bureau of land management) and Dept of Energy  created maps of six U.S. states most suitable for solar energy generation and transmission: Arizona (PDF and below), California (PDF), Colorado (PDF), Nevada (PDF), New Mexico (PDF) and Utah (PDF). The US Govt is now conducting several environmental impact studies, opening solar energy permitting offices, and overhauling the application and review process for utilities looking to develop land for solar energy generation. Read more on CNET’s Green Tech site.

There is also a new set of layers – 14 types of areas within three main categories of land protection –  for Google Earth called Path to Green Energy, developed byNatural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society and a’s Geo Challenge Grants.  The tool’s goals is to provide industry, conservationists, policy-makers, and concerned citizens instant access to interactive wildlife, habitat and land management maps to guide appropriate site selection for renewable power generation and transmission facilities. Launch the tool through NRDC site and read more details here.